New testing of Tampa apartment complex sinkhole shows it has not grown, residents safe

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa officials say they feel comfortable giving the owner of the French Quarter Apartments more time to repair a massive sinkhole under one of the buildings, which was uncovered by an 8 On Your Side investigation.

The city had no idea about the sinkhole activity, at least 100 feet under one building, until notified by 8 On Your Side. That building has been vacant since the hole was discovered seven years ago, but engineers who warned it should be fixed promptly.

Tampa Code Enforcement demanded updated testing last month. Officials say those test results show the hole has not grown. A geotechnical engineer hired by the city says it is safe for residents to continue living around the hole, while the property owner figures out how to make repairs.

“The building that is of concern is 6411,” said Sal Ruggerio. “That is vacant, so we feel pretty confident that we’re safe.”

This came after an 8 On Your Side investigation exposed what two engineers called “dangerous” sinkhole activity under one of the buildings.

The original engineers recommended other buildings be deemed unsafe and possibly vacated. But instead, the property owner vacated only one building and didn’t fix the sinkhole activity. He is fighting in court, trying to secure more money in an insurance settlement.

Now, this issue will head to a jury trail, scheduled to begin in June. Citizens Property Insurance company agreed to make repairs, but the property owner additional more money for a more expensive repair method.

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